How to maintain a Kohler portable generator for optimum performance and longevity.

Kohler Generators

In 1920, Kohler entered the Power Systems business, building the first modern-day generator called the Kohler Automatic Power & Light. Originally created to power Kohler plumbing products in rural America, the Kohler Automatic now provides instant electricity to homes, boats and business around the world. Since this ground-breaking launch, Kohler has continually developed best-in-class products and services for power generation. 

Kohler’s next generation range of portable generators provide instant power virtually anywhere. They’re reliable, durable and easy to use. Ranging from 3.5kW to 7.5kW, they’re light, compact and suitable for a wide range of industrial, commercial, residential and construction applications. 

Here’s how to maintain a Kohler generator for optimum performance and longevity:

What oil should be used?

It is recommended to use KOHLER oils for best performance. Other high-quality detergent oils, including synthetics, of American Petroleum Institute (API) service class SJ or higher are acceptable. Based on air temperatures at time of operation, oil type can vary. It is good to refer to the owner’s manual for complete details.

What type of fuel should be used?

Depending on the model, petrol or diesel can be used. (Note: E15, E20 and E85 are NOT approved for use.)

How should the generator be stored?

Long-term storage of the generator requires preventative procedures to guard against deterioration. Disconnect any electrical devices. If the engine will be out of service for two months or more, follow these procedures:

  1. Add KOHLER PRO Series fuel treatment or equivalent to fuel tank. Run engine 2-3 minutes to get stabilized fuel into fuel system (failures due to untreated fuel are not warrantable).
  2. Change oil while engine is still warm from operation. Remove spark plug and pour about 1 oz. of engine oil into cylinder(s). Replace spark plug and crank engine slowly to distribute oil.
  3. Clean the generator.
  4. Store covered in a clean, dry, well-ventilated area. When covering the generator, do so only after engine and muffler/shield have completely cooled down. Generator must remain in same position as normal operation.

How long can the generator run before we need to check the oil?

It is recommended checking the oil level after every five hours of operation. Oil and filter change frequency and other routine maintenance varies per model, especially during periods of extended power outage. Check the owner’s manual for a complete list of required maintenance procedures and schedules.

How to clean a Kohler generator?

  1. Make sure the generator is turned off and is cool.
  2. Remove all dust and debris from around exhaust.
  3. Clean generator, particularly alternator and engine air inlets and outlets, using a cloth and brush.
  4. Check general condition and replace any faulty parts.

How should the generator be transported?

Before transporting, check that bolts are correctly tightened, close fuel valve and disconnect starter battery. Generator should be transported in its normal operating position; never lay it on its side.

What is GFCI?

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) stops power to protected receptacles if a ground fault (electrical leak) is detected. If RESET button pops out, equipment plugged into receptacles maybe faulty. If this happens, check equipment carefully. If equipment appears to be in good condition, press RESET button firmly until a click is heard. This will restore power. If RESET button pops out again, unplug equipment immediately. Contact your KOHLER Portable Generators dealer before attempting to use it again.

How to check the engine oil?

  1. Power off the generator and let the engine sit for two minutes to settle the oil. Pull the dipstick from the back of the engine and wipe with a clean rag. Insert the dipstick back into the dipstick tube and pull it out. Note the crosshatching on the end of the dipstick, from “F” (Full) to “L” (Low), and see where the oil level falls. Add oil if the dipstick indicates that the oil level is low. (See what type of oil should be used?)
  2. Locate the yellow oil-access cap on the front of the engine (look for the oil can icon). Add a few ounces of oil, then recheck the oil level by inserting and removing the dipstick. Add oil until the level is near “F”. Do not overfill the engine.
  3. When you’re finished adding oil, make sure the dipstick and oil access cap are securely in place. Push the AUTO button to place the generator back in standby mode. If the utility power is still out, the generator will start within three seconds. After the generator starts, turn electric devices on when properly connected.

Where is the oil dipstick?

The dipstick has a bright yellow ring attached to the end. The location varies by generator, but it’s typically easy to notice.

How much oil does a generator normally use?

The amount varies depending on engine model, length of time since last oil change, amount of power the generator is producing and length of power outage. Check the owner’s manual for a complete list of required maintenance procedures and schedules.

What should be done if the generator is submerged in water?

Water and electricity are a very dangerous mix. If you can safely access the power switch or main line disconnect, power off the generator; if it continues to run while submerged, internal damage to both engine and generator will be significant. If you can’t safely access the power switch or main line disconnect, do not make any attempt to turn it off.

EPG Engines is proud to be the exclusive Australian distributors of Kohler Portable Generators.

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